Once we’ve learned what God sounds like (for more on that check out Listening Prayer pt. 1), we can begin trying to discern what he is saying. Is he asking you to pursue a new job? Should you be dating that person? Is there something you need to repent from? There’s no topic that God dosen’t want to talk to you about. He also wants to bring restoration to the deep places in your heart. As you grow in this, he may ask you to remember an old wound and allow him to walk you through it in order to bring healing to it. He may show you an area of your life that you’ve withheld from him and walk you through surrendering it. Once you learn to really hear from him, there’s no telling where he might lead. To experience this kind of intimacy and connectedness with God we must grow our ability to be tunned in to his voice and what he is saying.
Today, I’m going to show you three ways to help to discern what you are hearing from God.
- One of the ways we do that is through scripture. God is unchanging, he will never contradict himself. If he seems to, then we have misunderstood something. So, if you think God has given you some sort of insight or direction check it against what is written in the Bible. God will not tell you to do something that contradicts his word in Scripture. For example, God is not going to tell you to worship another God, disrespect your parents, murder, have a sexual relationship outside of marriage, steal, etc. Those behaviors go against what he’s already said in scripture. A great way to know what God has said about certain topics is to simply do a Google search for “Bible verses about _______.” So if you feel like God is speaking to you about a career change fill in the blank with “work.”
- The second way we can know what God is saying is by getting confirmation from other followers of Jesus. In Acts 15, Luke records what is known as the Jerusalem Council. This was a meeting of the early church leaders to discuss how the Gentiles should be instructed in their following of Jesus. Verses 22-35 record their decision and the letter that was to be sent to the Gentiles describing that decision. Verse 28, begins with the phrase, “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”. The council had sought the Lord together and together determined what God was saying. This wasn’t one person saying, “God told me…” it was the group of Godly men together saying “I agree it seems like this is what God is saying.”
- The last thing to discuss today is fasting. I once heard it said that we pray to connect with God and we fast to disconnect from the world. I’ve often found that fasting can lead to greater discernment for precisely this reason. When we sacrifice something voluntarily, we are disconnecting from the world in favor of connecting with God. If you’re not familiar with fasting, here’s a couple things you should know. Most commonly, fasting refers to giving up all food and most beverages with, water, coffee and maybe juice being the exceptions. Fasting will often last from 24 hours to several days. However, Fasting doesn’t have to mean not eating food for a period of time. You can fast from something in particular like a certain food or meal, a drink or activity for a particular period of time. Rememberer the point of fasting is to disconnect from the world. So, if there’s something you’re particularly fond of, consider giving it up for a period of time in order to disconnect from it and the world in favor of connecting with Jesus.
Your assignments for today are to continue practicing what you’ve already learned, prayer posture, starting with praise and learning to listen. Then add these three practices over the next few days. The first is easy, simply start searching for things God has said in the Bible that you think he might be speaking to you about now. The second will be a little more challenging. Try to find someone or a small group of people you can trust who will pray with you about something you think God might be saying. Be willing to share with them what you think God is saying and ask them to seek his will on your behalf and share with you what they sense God is saying to you. The third is the hardest, but I encourage you to try it. Pray about it first. What is God asking you to give up and for how long in order to disconnect from the world? Let us know what you’re doing in the comments. May you connect with God like never before!